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Legionella detected in water at Invergordon County Hospital, NHS Highland confirms

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Invergordon County Hospital. Picture: Gary Anthony.
Invergordon County Hospital. Picture: Gary Anthony.

NHS Highland has confirmed that low levels of Legionella were detected in water supplies at Invergordon County Hospital in January.

Following the discovery the health authority said it immediately put safety measures in place to "prevent harm to patients and staff".

According to the Health and Safety Executive, legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by Legionella bacteria including the most serious Legionnaires' disease, as well as the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.

NHS Highland also claims that there has been no outbreak of respiratory infections at the Easter Ross hospital.

An NHS Highland spokesperson said: "As part of our regular and routine testing for the presence of bacterial in water supplies within NHS Highland facilities, a limited number of samples tested positive at Invergordon County Hospital in December. Legionella was not detected at that time.

"Measures were put in place in December to ensure that patients and staff were provided with safe water, including bottled water.

"NHS Highland takes all unexpected or abnormal findings very seriously. We continued to implement infection control measures and then carried out follow-up tests in January, which showed low levels of Legionella. Additional measures were immediately put in place.

"Safety measures have been established extremely quickly to prevent harm to patients and staff, however the remedial work can take some time. During this period the safety measures in place will be monitored very closely.

"We can confirm that there has been no outbreak of respiratory infections at Invergordon County Hospital during this period."

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